Why a Safari in Tanzania is not a Budget Holiday

Tanzania is an ultimate adventure destination for many travelers across the globe. For many reasons including wildlife that’s beyond compare to any other country in the world, more and more tourists have been drawn to Tanzania. What sets other travelers back is the price. Yes, Tanzania safaris are generally pricey compared to other holiday destinations. The question is, why? To give you a clearer understanding on why Tanzania safari holidays aren’t cheap, here’s a quick rundown:

MOTHER NATURE AT HER BEST
Tanzania offers unique experiences unlike other countries in the world. Its perfectly mapped out, diverse landscapes make up some of the most glorifying sceneries on the planet; its mind-blowing wildlife is unparalleled and so exquisite — something you can never find elsewhere. Whether you visit its iconic parks like the Serengeti, explore its gorgeous white sandy beaches in Zanzibar, discover best-kept secrets off the beaten path, or tour around the UNESCO sites, Tanzania will surely amaze you. Tanzania is also often called “the land that stayed on after God created the world.” Its natural beauty is so surreal, and being able to see such iconic sights is just a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE
Let’s face it. Tanzania’s infrastructure is not that advanced yet. Compared to other touristy countries like the US, Europe, and even some other African countries, Tanzania lacks infrastructure such as highways, railway lines, and airports. This means transportation from one place to another would be pricier as some places require charter flights instead of road travel, which is usually a cheaper option. Also, a myriad of companies in the developed parts of the world is competing for euros, dollars, and pounds. This competition keeps the prices down.


FLIGHTS
Flights to Tanzania, although ample and available in most major cities in the world, are still scarce compared to flights heading to other touristy places. For this reason, flights to Tanzania are more expensive. Of course, the more competition, the lower the price. Local flights are also small flights (around 12 pax only). This includes flights from Arusha to Zanzibar as well as those from Dar or Arusha to the Serengeti.


EXCLUSIVITY
Tanzania’s parks value exclusivity as well as the authenticity of the wild. Hence, the number of visitors, as well as the number of vehicles and lodges in particular parks, are limited despite its incredible vastness. This, again, contributes to the higher expense.


PRICEY PERMITS
Permits to build structures in Tanzania, like lodges and tented camps, are expensive. Hence, this is passed on and reflected in the accommodation price.

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FULL BOARD
Camps and lodges in Tanzania are mostly booked on a full-board basis. This is because you usually have no access to restaurants outside the camp, which is very remote and exclusive. Since you have no other choice, you really have to go full-board. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to worry about food. Everything will be prepared and dietary restrictions are accommodated (just let the property management know before booking with them).


PARK FEES AND REGULATIONS
In Tanzania, park fees are generally steeper for Non-African residents. This price is dictated by the government. In Serengeti, for example, tourist adults aged 16 years and above are priced $60 each while expats/residents are priced 30 USD and East African residents only pay 10000 TZs (about 4.37 USD). Complete NCAA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority) fees can be found here. If you want to learn more on park fees, here’s a complete list of TANAPA Tariffs from July 2017 to June 2018. There are also park regulations that could impact the cost of your safari. In Kilimanjaro, for example, trekkers are not allowed to hike the mountain without a guide, no matter how experienced he/she is. Guides and porters are a must for any Kilimanjaro trek and therefore come as an additional costs (although these expenses are already included in Kilimanjaro tours packages most of the time).

TOTALLY WORTH EVERY CENT
The experience in Tanzania is always worth the price. Sure, it may cost a couple dollars more but with the kind of exclusivity and the authentic experience you will have, which is in no way attainable in other countries, every cent is definitely worth it. Here are some Tanzania fun facts that show how amazing a Tanzania safari holiday is:

  • Tanzania boasts almost 20% of Africa’s large mammal population, so this is your chance to witness the mighty elephants and lions right in front of your eyes.

  • The country is home to the iconic Great Wildebeest Migration, one of the Seven Natural Wonders and regarded as “the world’s greatest show.”

  • It is known to host the world’s largest animal population per square meter.

  • It is home to Africa’s highest peak, the world’s highest free-standing mountain and one of the Seven Summits, Mount Kilimanjaro.

  • Tanzania also includes three of Africa’s greatest lakes including Lake Tanganyika which is known for its unique species of fishes.

  • Tanzania is home to over 120 ethnic groups, living peacefully side by side.

  • Tanzania served as an inspiration to the settings of the classic films The Lion King and Tarzan.

  • Tanzania also boasts of a thriving primate population in the western circuit.

  • Whether you are after for some bush adventures or a beach escape, Tanzania will never disappoint you.

Written by: Branded Africa; also published on Medium.

Denise Brown